Haliburton sets tone for future Dramatic Arts Days

By Darren Lum

Published April 24 2018

Haliburton hosted what is expected to be the inaugural Trillium Lakelands District School Board  Dramatic Arts Day several weeks ago at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion.

The daylong event offered participating teachers and students from Grade 4 to 6 from seven schools in TLDSB the opportunity to grow and develop as well as work toward making communities better using the dramatic arts.

The programming started with an improv game led by the HHSS Grade 10 drama class. The same class of students continued the day as “helpers” to the participants during the two workshops held to develop their creativity confidence curriculum knowledge and drama/movement skills. The participants enjoyed short performances from each of the schools attending based on the theme of building a community. Included among the schools was Minden’s Archie Stouffer Elementary School. The main message was that people are more alike than different.

TLDSB’s elementary curriculum/arts consultant and event organizer Jelynne Sornberger said the day went well as evidenced by the feedback from the participating educators and students who were positive and enthusiastic.

“I believe that we met all our goals: building community across TLDSB partnering elementary and high school celebrating the dramatic arts professional development in the dramatic arts building confidence creativity and risk taking in students giving students opportunity to perform and experience a dramatic experience on a real stage and bring to light important community building issues such as equity inclusion anti-bullying and active citizenship” she wrote in an email.

ASES teacher Lorie Reddering participated in the event and said it was better than expected. She appreciated how the HHSS drama students engaged the visiting students.

“The inclusion of the Grade 10 students built a relationship within our community of schools. The Grade 4-6 students got to see how the older students were willing to be confident and try things in front of an audience. This made them more willing to do the same” she wrote in an email. “It was an idea that I’ve had in my mind for about five years but it was Jelynne Sornberger that made it happen. She is the arts consultant for the board. I wanted to start a day for kids that are interested in dramatic arts.”

This first time offering included not just HHSS but also Lindsay’s I.E. Weldon Secondary School.
The event celebrates what the arts can do for students said Sornberger.

“The arts nurture imagination innovation and collaboration while spreading joy. We wanted to celebrate what makes TLDSB a place to grow and flourish. Our hope is that we can build students’ self-confidence so that they are inspired to create and express their individuality while feeling like they have a safe place where they belong” she wrote.

This event was open to the first 10 schools that applied.

In the future there is a possibility to open the event up to older students such as from area high schools Sornberger said.

“If we introduce and spark interest in dramatic arts in the junior grades the enthusiasm and confidence will continue on through intermediate and high school years” she wrote.

Following the event it wasn’t long before the teachers and students were “buzzing excitedly about next year.”

“Schools loved being brought together from the different regions of TLDSB but it was a long bus trip for some of our students. So we need to perhaps consider changing the location each time to make it equitable or run the day multiple times in a couple locations” she wrote.

“We are hoping to apply for a grant to help out with cost to run the day to make this opportunity available to all schools that would like to attend.”